The U.S. Forest Service has proposed policy changes that eliminate public involvement and environmental review for most national forest decisions, including logging projects, road construction, and even pipelines.
This proposal falls under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). If passed, it removes longstanding requirements for public notification, input, and analysis of environmental impacts when approving projects such as logging (clear cuts up to 4,200 acres), road building (five miles), pipeline construction (four miles), closing recreational trails, and other activities under a “Categorical Exclusion” from NEPA Review on the 193 million acres of national forest lands across the country.
How Does This Proposal Affect Hoosiers?
This proposal denies Hoosiers the opportunity to comment on national forest management decisions.
Hoosier National Forest (HNF) falls under these federal policies. Fifty thousand acres of HNF drain directly into the Monroe and Patoka Reservoirs. This proposal, if passed, would leave 280,000 Hoosiers who get their drinking water from these sources without a voice. Furthermore, this proposal undermines NEPA’s bedrock principles of government transparency, accountability, public participation, and science-based decision making. Will you act now?
The deadline to file comments with the U.S. Forest Service on NEPA Procedures (36 CFR 220) is August 26, 2019.
Dive deeper into the implications of the proposal:
Mountain Journal: Once Proud Forest Service Poised To Help Gut NEPA
New York Times: Why Is the Forest Service Trying to Evade the Public?
NPR: Federal Land Managers Propose Rule Change to Fast Track Forest Management Projects
The Hill: Trump’s proposed new forest rules would be a reality-show horror
Please tell the U.S. Forest Service why you want a say on public land decisions.
Submit comments by August 26. This action takes about five minutes.
OR comment directly to the U.S. Forest Service.
Letters written in your own words are most effective. If they perceive that your letter is a form letter, it may be thrown out.
How to Comment on the Proposed Rule
Public Participation Portal: U.S. Forest Service preferred method
Mail: NEPA Services Group, c/o Amy Barker, USDA Forest Service, 125 South State Street, Suite 7105, Salt Lake City, UT 84138
Contact Indiana Officials
Contact Indiana Senator Mike Braun. He serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry which oversees the U.S. Forest Service. He will be key during the next few years as the set-asides in HNF come up for review. He needs to start hearing from his constituents on forest issues.
When completing Sen. Braun’s contact form, select the topic, “Environment.”
Please share this message widely.
Thank you for your participation in the public comment period and your forest advocacy and support! Together we can work to protect Indiana’s priceless remaining wild nature.